MACRA calls for accurate information on herbal medicines

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Director General, Daud Suleman has challenged stakeholders in the broadcasting, traditional and complementary medicines industry to ensure right information and messages are shared with consumers.

Suleman made the remarks on Thursday in Lilongwe during a Central region interface meeting with stakeholders in the broadcasting and Traditional and Complementary Medicines (TCM) industry jointly organized with Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA).

Macra Director General Daud Suleman

He said consumers have a right to have conducive information on all programs and adverts.

“This means all products being advertised must be beyond reasonable doubt to give a sense of hope and should avoid ambiguous messages,” he said.

Suleman said: “If there are adverts, they must only concentrate on the truth and nothing beyond that.”

Therefore, he said, the forum is very critical to the Regulators and  the practitioners to share experiences, and collaboration to ensure that  consumers are provided with appropriate and relevant information.

He said broadcasters have to ensure that all content aired is true and does not dupe consumers in any way but should rather present hope and comfort.

According to him, adverts provide the bulk of business, however, the adverse effects of unjustified claims from medicinal adverts are having negative impacts on people’s lives which contradicts the 2nd schedule of the Communications Act clause 7, which empowers MACRA to regulate the advertisement of goods and products. We know that TCM advertising has always given broadcasters good business adding that MACRA will ensure that this continues but in an orderly manner.

Director for PMRA, Dr John Mponda said they have joined the process of engaging stakeholders in the media and traditional medicines  to make sure that herbal medicine is regulated in the country.

“It is important that these messages are regulated so that consumers get true messages as well as the right product,” he said.

Mponda said together with MACRA they will present the process that should be undertaken by all adverts before they are aired and will continue enforcing the regulatory requirements on the right information for broadcasting.

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